Holocaust Denial?

I put it in Great Debates, because I assume it will spark one.

But why do white supremacists almost always deny the Holocaust? I don’t need a cite. And I say “almost always”. But in reality, I never saw one who didn’t.

Why do they do it? It seems to be pretty universal for them, as I said. What is their point? And purpose, for that matter?


Well, there is considerable overlap between anti-Semitism and white supremacism (why, I don’t know - most Jews are white), so, something such as the Holocaust that boosts the cause of the Jews (in the PR sense) is obviously something white supremacists will object to.

It wasn’t just Germany who hated and feared Jewish people, prior to WWII. A fairly large number of American Jews originally came from Russia - not Germany - fleeing pogroms there. Even here in the US, you see Hollywood forming largely as a predominately Jewish place as a way to escape persecution on the Eastern seaboard. And, of course, there was Henry Ford.

All of that hatred went back nearly two thousand years, in a fairly non-stop stream.

It is probably fair to say that the Holocaust is what broke Western culture out of all of that. Today, being friendly with Jewish people and pro-Israel is, realistically, an amazing turnaround from where society was before the war. And that’s largely in part to the sheer mass of the evil that was perpetuated.

If you can prove that the Holocaust wasn’t real, and that the Jewish community faked it, that goes way beyond dirty tricks. It would be downright evil - which is, of course, what a white supremacist would expect from “the Jews”.

I just want to point out that a non-trivial number of white supremacists/neo-Nazis/Holocaust deniers do not, in fact, consider Jews to be “white people” even if a large number of them have pale skin. I’m not sure how they arrive at that notion.

It’s not limited to white supremacists. Here in Minneapolis, my Congressperson is a non-white, non-Christian woman, and she is a holocaust denier. Of the Armenian holocaust, at least, based on her recent vote on that.

Because it really hurts the people who were affected. They’re bullies, and they want to make their victims feel bad. There’s no more intellectual justification than that needed, Bubbe’s tears are the point for most of it.

Holocaust denial = anti-Semitism.

White supremacists also characteristically deny that conditions were bad under slavery.

It’s the nature of the beast.

Exactly. If you’re a white supremacist, then it’s hard to swallow that one of the most monumental episode of mass-murder and genocide in history was perpetrated by someone who in effect, was THE supreme white supremacist.

So you deny that it actually happened, and say it’s all a conspiracy, because you know, you can’t have your idol actually being a mass-murderer and genocidal lunatic, and you’re personally not quite evil enough to think that the Holocaust was actually a good thing either.

A typical white supremacist belief is that Jews secretly run everything and have enormous power. The Holocaust certainly undermines that narrative, whereas Jews falsely concocting the Holocaust to manipulate people reinforces that narrative. Gross, but not too mysterious why they would believe it.

That’s almost exactly what I was going to say. It’s not that they necessarily see the Holocaust as so heinous and beyond the pale and committed by “one of their *own” that they want to deny it, but that anything that paints white racists as being on top and Jews being the victims of systemic persecution by powerful governments completely undermines their hypothesis that the Jews run everything.

So, to have their fantasy of the Jews running everything, they have to put off (at least outwardly) belief in their other fantasy re: Jews, which is mass murder and persecution.

And yes, yes. I am aware there are white supremacists who insist they don’t want to murder anyone, they just want to preserve the races as separate for… important historical and cultural reasons that are “totally not racist.” But if murder should happen to be the unfortunate consequence of this sorting process, given our current mixed state, well… they just want to make sure whites aren’t murdered. Just looking after their own, you know? “Totally not racist.”

  • And of course, some may disavow Hitler because he was an obvious loser who failed utterly to achieve his goals, and they can’t deify someone like that, even if that’s basically the textbook white supremacist: a loser who will either mercifully (for the rest of us) fail or succeed just long enough to bring ruin to his or her country.

White supremacists are, by and large, not good people, despite what the president may have said.

Yes, the thought that a straight, white, rich, Christian man might bring evil to the world is unthinkable for the white supremacists. And Trump did not call them “good,” his very words were “very fine people.”

I’m sure one thing that goes into their moral calculus is that by having this big black mark against them in the historical record, they’re less able to sway more people to their cause.

It’s marketing. Absent the Holocaust, WWII is just another European War. The Nazis lost, but, hey, the Kaiser lost WWI, and no one today holds him up as the epitome of evil, right?

They’re trying to reform the image of the Nazis, so they need to get rid of the one thing that everyone agrees put the Nazis beyond the pale.

So they can do it again.

One would think that real Nazis are all about genocide and ethnic cleansing. They do not view it as a bad thing. There was once an interview on TV with a nice young man from the American Nazi Party who, when asked, were they in power, what his party’s policy would be towards American Jews, politely explained that they would be “encouraged to leave, one way or another.” He did not for a second hesitate or seem uncomfortable with the idea.

It’s a mistake to think of White Supremacy as only against people of color, though people of color have certainly suffered the worst of its violent contempt. White Supremacist groups like the KKK have always been against anybody who isn’t white, Protestant, and native-born–though their hatred toward Catholics seems to have largely dissipated.

It’s because whiteness is a constructed identity that essentially defines the “in-group” and “absence of race” and is only broadly correlates with skin color. Irish and Italian people were not considered “white” in America for a time, for instance, despite a lot of Irish people being pale as snow. Jews have sort of waxed and waned in “whiteness” over the years depending on the political climate. I’d say in the current climate Jews have become “less white” in that they’re being separated out as more of a distinct ethnic group due to said White Supremacists having more of a platform, but maybe… 10 years ago were probably more on the “white” spectrum where most American Jewish people were treated more as a distinct white cultural group like the Dutch or French.

Also note that White Supremacy and White Fascism is essentially a death cult that progressively more narrowly defines “white” based on the predominant prevailing identities of the people in charge as they get more power. So they may even allow some “useful” POC when they’re low on power to be in their sphere, but once they get power those get purged (either from the party/positions of power or literally in the sense of genocide or exile), and then Italians get purged, and then Irish People, and then… say… the Spanish, then the French etc etc until suddenly only Baltic people or German people or English people or someone who can prove they’ve never had any non-what-is-now-defined-as-white ancestry going back 5 centuries or whatever are “white”. There’s always an increasing standard of “purity” among white supremacist communities. This usually ends up extending to other marginalized people too, such as the disabled, or gay people or trans people.

I think white supremacists admire Hitler and want other people to admire him too but when Hitler is the cause of killing six million Jews just because they were Jews that’s a tough sell. That’s insane. If they can convince people that the Holocaust never happened then Hitler is just another leader that ended up on the wrong side of a war.

I mean somewhat this, but it’s more of a recruitment tool for white supremacy in general. The idea is to sell some knowledge or thing that makes people “more educated”, but also makes white supremacy “less bad” or other things as “just a joke”, as part of making them go to a deeper layer in the radicalization onion. After all, if the holocaust never happened then “gas the jews” is (or can be passed off as) just a joke about something people think happened but didn’t. It helps people go deeper. When people are “nazi enough” whether the holocaust happened or not is really immaterial, and they honestly generally think it did. Even among most holocaust deniers you see in comments there’s usually a very obvious thread of “the Holocaust didn’t happen (but I wish it did)”.

Not all Holocaust deniers outright deny it, though, either. A more common form of holocaust denial is what you may call “Holocaust minimization”. That is “okay, sure, it happened, and that’s awful and everything but the claims are grossly exaggerated it was maybe like a few hundred tops.”